So our day started at 6 in the morning on a Monday.My mom wanted to make us breakfast, but as luck usually gives us the slip, it so happened that we ran out of cooking gas right that moment and in normal conditions, my mind would have looked at it as an ominous sign of things to come further along the day but I suppressed that then.I had an interview, so naturally it was a big day,more so for my parents.Even if I tried to play it down a tad and act like it was just another day,it would be difficult to not get affected by the huge deal being made of it.We wanted this to work out bad.But I have taken a decision,to look up,to not count single stray incidents as an indicator of being singled out and targeted.I am trying my best to think anything could happen and we just have to take it in our stride.
So anyway, after a cup of tea which our apartment’s handy man was able to quickly run and bring from the nearby tea shop in our thermos, we headed to the airport.I always love these father-daughter times so much.We catch up,we never run out of conversations,we laugh a lot-my dad has a very sarcastic sense of humor, but he is also very observant,a trait I believe has been generously passed down to me. We have the best laugh out of situations which would pass as seemingly ordinary.This journey together is more than a year after we had made a similar trip in the US in the summer of 2008,when we had to fly to Michigan and we had to change two flights, with a lot of stop over time in Atlanta.We were enjoying strolling through the airport,looking at shops,eating some good food which I treated him to from my measly savings,and just being so much at peace in our little corner of the huge crowd of people.The bhubaneswar airport did not set the same backdrop,but the feelings,the emotions were the same.I was going to have a long day ahead of me,one that was important and one that my parents looked at as a possible turning day.
So after a sandwich in the cafeteria and a cup of tea,we boarded our one hour long flight to Kolkata and booked a cab to reach our destination.And you know how you have heard,life can change in a matter of seconds.Well,damn right! I got out of the cab assuming I had my one hand-bag belonging safely tucked with me,when I suddenly realized I had left behind my mobile.I tried groping inside the bag,which seemed too unnecessarily big then, and looked at the street,and the cab had already disappeared from view in a matter of minutes!
So there it was, that ominous sign and I felt I was caving in to it.I felt terribly sad, not because of losing a handset,but because I felt we had made it this far and I just had to lose it.I went with a very rattled mind to my test and interview.But by the time it was over,my dad and me had come to terms with the morning shake up.I mean,it was not the loss,it was more like the timing of it and the realization that something can happen in a matter of seconds too.But well well, we decided not to fret and we had a lot of time to kill before our train back home.I was already aching to be back home,in my own home,lay in my bed and feel the warmth of being in one’s home.
After spending some time in the mall,where I did spend a lot by my usual restrained shopping self,we took a cab back to the railway station.The day was finally giving way to a sense of satisfaction that okay,if we could over-look that one incident,everything went smoothly.We were quiet for the most on the dusty cab ride to the station.The dust, the traffic,the chaos made my heart very restless and I felt like it was an impossible task to drive on these roads anymore.This from someone who would whizz past speeding vehicles on busy roads on her moped.Life does make you change honestly.And this was the kind of change which I did not at all regret.I will never be able to drive on these roads again with the same confidence ,period.
the station was a mix of a lot of smells-sweat,heat,the humidity,the general depressing air,the rush of people,the lack of space to walk without walking over people laying all over the platform,the smell of urine wafting out of badly maintained urinals.I felt a little horrified because yes I knew this has always been the case with public transport places in india, but to be suddenly re-living it was unsettling.It was the sinking feeling that it is my reality now.I wanted to cry,but I then remembered not to make a big deal of these circumstances.My dad and mom and a million other people can do it and so can I.
We sat together and my dad shared stories of his days when he had got into the wrong train and how he had to jump into a field after pulling the chain,run to the road,get a lift from a motorcyclist , stories of how he would have to walk distances we would normally cover by train-it was such a fun time looking at his life and picturing a young dad doing all that.We had a very horrible dinner at the 24/7 restaurant,it was cold,tasteless and on top of that,one had to stand and eat with people jostling you from all sides.ughh!
But it was 9’o clock finally,all I had wanted was to board that damn train,go home and hold ma, and just flop into the bed.My bed.
at 4 in the morning next day, we finally had come back to our city and we walked back home and felt like we had the day and its events behind us now.All that was retained was a very quality father-daughter time and some very comfortable silences to soak in the experience.